“It’s just a hill – get over it!” is what you’ll see on t-shirts in Golden Bay, a reference to the hill you need to get over to arrive in Takaka. On 12 September 1887 a Mr T A Field set out to ride over the hill on his penny farthing, being knee deep in mud didn’t stop him, Takaka and Golden Bay are still well worth the hill climb.
Takaka’s main street is a colourful collection of buildings and if you have an eye for the alternative and like your food wholesome and healthy you’ll love it.
Curious coffee stop – Pirate Espresso at Port Tarakohe (10 minute drive from Takaka)
I bought a cup of coffee at Pirate Espresso and checked out the pirate’s loot. The owner worked as a jeweller for a time and has put together a box of his jewels for all the children who know a pirate’s not a pirate without a stash of treasure. Likewise a real pirate ship has to have a weapon so a cannon was made out of an old drain pipe.
The ship, named Physalie had an adventurous life before retiring to Port Tarakohe. Physalie was once owned by Jacques Cousteau; the ship has sunk more than once, and has hauled tonnes of fish on board during a stint as a fishing boat.
Physalie now spends her days in retirement as a floating coffee stop with its own roaster on board. You place your order at the cabin and return to collect your coffee when the bell rings, the friendly pirate floats solo so he has to keep an eye on the loot. (BYO snacks welcome).
You can take a seat on the large deck or look into the water for creatures that occasionally visit – sea horses and giant sting rays. What’s easier to spot are the impressive limestone cliffs, you drive through a hole in a rock to get to Port Tarakohe.
Pirate Espresso is usually open Wednesday – Friday 10am – 4.30pm over summer, look out for the black van or see Facebook. (Port Tarakohe is a 10 minute drive from Takaka).